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Knowledge and skills

Principle F

As a member of nursing staff, you should have the appropriate skills to ensure that people in receipt of support services receive good nutritional care. Training in itself is not just a key characteristic of good nutritional care; it also underpins all other characteristics. 

The British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) document 'Malnutrition Matters' also identifies the following items which should be included in your nutrition and hydration education and training:

  • causes and consequences of malnutrition in the U.K
  • the importance of providing adequate nutrition
  • nutritional screening
  • assessment of nutritional needs
  • nutrition care planning and treatment
  • ethical and legal issues
  • potential risks and benefits
  • when and where to seek expert advice.

The BAPEN toolkit is designed to help commissioners and providers organise nutritional care. It details the evidence that providers can submit to demonstrate that staff have attained competences appropriate to their role, including:

  • achievement of competencies identified by Skills for Care, Skills for Health and completion of nutrition modules provided by the NHS Core Learning Unit
  • completion of the BAPEN MUST e-learning module.

Learning resources

The following online resources are available.

RCN Learning Zone (2010) Supporting people's nutritional needs - getting started
This learning area, which can be accessed from the CPD online page, has been primarily developed for health care assistants (HCAs) but is also useful for any practitioner who needs to update their practice. You can also use this learning area to check your own learning and understanding gained from this online resource on nutrition and hydration.

BAPEN. Interactive e-Learning modules on Nutritional Screening using ‘MUST’
In partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, BAPEN has developed an interactive e-Learning resource on nutritional screening using ‘MUST’. Designed for health and care staff working in hospitals, primary care and care homes, the three modules explain the causes and consequences of malnutrition, the importance of nutritional screening and how to screen using ‘MUST’. Each module includes case studies and care plans appropriate for the work place and an online assessment together with the ability to print off certificates of achievement.

Competences

Skills for Health competences / National Occupational Standards

Skills for Health provide a range of competences and National Occupational Standards (NOS) relevant to nutrition which include competences and standards on: reviewing and monitoring a patient's nutritional wellbeing; agreeing a dietary plan for patients with a specified medical condition; supporting individuals with long term conditions to manage their nutrition; contributing to meeting the nutritional needs of babies, children and young people; feeding individuals with techniques other than oral feeding.